Here is an article about “Cat Scratch Disease” from Dr. Edward Wu, a contributing writer for Itchmo:
Cat Scratch Disease
Edward C. Wu, MD
No, you shouldn’t get rid of your cat. But, do be on the lookout for swollen lymph nodes and a rash if you’ve been bitten or scratched by a cat.
Believe it or not, “Cat Scratch Disease” (CSD) is the actual name of the disease. Caused by a group of bacteria (usually Bartonella henselae), CSD can occur in healthy individuals. It affects fewer than 1 in 10000 individuals. Most cases occur in individuals under 21 years of age.
CSD usually starts within two weeks of a cat bite or scratch. Common symptoms are a rash and swollen lymph nodes that develop near the actual scratch or bite. Individuals can also experience fever, visual changes, or joint pains.
Thankfully, most CSD infections in healthy individuals go away on their own. However, some individuals develop complications, requiring antibiotics to treat the infection. If untreated, serious cases can affect the nervous system, heart, and liver. We don’t know why some individuals have a worse case of CSD than others.
So, if you think you have CSD, should you stay at home and “ride it out?” No. Current medical recommendations are to treat CSD with antibiotics. Your doctor can check for CSD in your blood and give you the right antibiotics. Also, you don’t need to go to a specialist, since most internal medicine or family physicians are aware of this disease.
Can you catch it from Fido? Rare cases of dog-related CSD have been traced back to flea bites, since these fleas can jump from cats to dogs.
Does cat cleanliness reduce CSD? While it is recommended to keep all your pets clean, there is no need to wash the bacteria out of your cats and kittens, since cats are a natural reservoir for Bartonella henselae.